Kawasaki Heavy Industries launched the world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier in Kobe, Japan on 11 December 2019
Susio Frontier was developed to transport liquefied hydrogen safely and in large quantities over long distances by sea at 1/800 of its original gas-state volume, cooled to –253°C.
Once complete, Susio Frontier will be used for technology demonstration testing aimed at establishing an international hydrogen energy supply chain. The hydrogen will be produced from coal in Australia and shipped to Japan.
Kawasaki plans to install a 1,250-m3 vacuum-insulated, double-shell-structure liquefied hydrogen storage tank, currently being manufactured at Harima Works, on the ship and complete the vessel’s construction by late 2020.
Japan is an energy-poor country. In June 2019, Japan adopted a long-term emissions-reduction strategy under the Paris Agreement. The strategy includes cutting the cost of producing carbon dioxide-free hydrogen to less than a 10th of current levels by 2050. Japan’s proposal for a hydrogen-based energy network received international support at the Hydrogen Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo in September 2019, the second annual event set up by the Japanese government which is attended by energy ministers or delegates from 30 countries.
Japan’s manufacturing giants have also made moves towards hydrogen. Kawasaki joined Iwatani Corporation, Shell Japan Limited, and Electric Power Development Co to form the CO2-free Hydrogen Energy Supply-chain Technology Research Association in 2016. Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings and JXTG Holdings announced plans in March to build one of the world’s biggest hydrogen stations in Tokyo by mid-2020. Honda and Toyota have also invested in manufacturing hydrogen cell-powered cars.
Hydrogen is projected as an energy source to combat climate change as it does not emit CO2 or other greenhouse gases during use. Expected applications include power generation and fuel cell powered transport.